Partners at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park were delighted to host a visit by Andy Anson, Chief Executive of the British Olympic Association (BOA), on Monday 25 September 2023, which included a tour of some of the Park’s newest venues and a roundtable discussion with key stakeholders.
The visit recognised the unique partnership between the Park and the BOA – the body responsible for the development of the Olympic movement in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park proudly holds a unique agreement with the BOA, granting it the use of the word “Olympic” in its name. This privilege is awarded based on the Park’s continued commitment to meeting and maintaining specific legacy criteria based around the four themes of Sport, Community, Environment and Economy.
Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park is the only venue in the UK outside of a host city to be granted this discretionary license which signifies the BOA’s support for the vision and mission of the Park, and its development since its inception eight years ago.
Mr Anson’s visit included a tour of Sheffield Hallam University’s Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC), a world-leading research centre in physical activity, dedicated to improving health and wellbeing through innovations that help people move. The AWRC is home to the Sheffield hub of the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine, a London 2012 Olympic legacy programme, and translates innovations from elite sport to improve population health.
The AWRC is also home to the Sports Engineering Research Group (SERG), part of the Academy of Sport and Physical Activity at Sheffield Hallam University. SERG works closely with Team GB sports and athletes and has supported over 100 medals at the London, Tokyo and Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games in sports including taekwondo, boxing, and swimming.
At UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy, Park Mr Anson met students studying Sport Science, Health Sciences and Computing. The UTC provides state-of-the-art facilities for students aspiring to become elite and professional athletes and the workforce of the future in sport, healthcare, and technology.
Mr Anson also enjoyed a behind the scenes preview of the Park’s newest venue, Canon Medical Arena, ahead of its official opening in October.
The Arena is the UK’s first carbon-neutral built community sports and event arena with an integrated Medical Diagnostic Centre, and the permanent home of the region’s two professional basketball clubs, the BBraun Sheffield Sharks and BBraun Sheffield Hatters.
The Medical Diagnostic Centre will bring healthcare services closer to the community and be a central hub for imaging referrals from professional sports clubs, health insurance companies and the NHS, offering additional capacity for scans and imaging procedures.
Following the tours, a productive roundtable discussion was held at the Landing Pad, the heart of the Park’s fast-growing innovation ecosystem for start-up, scale-up and spin-out companies in the health, wellbeing, and sport sectors.
Partners from across Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park joined the roundtable, where the agenda was centred around identifying opportunities for future initiatives and enhancing collaborative efforts.
Mr Anson commented: “The agreement between the British Olympic Association and Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park goes beyond sport. We are looking at the broader picture of health and wellbeing and it’s clear to see that this emerging life sciences cluster in the heart of South Yorkshire will benefit both the local community and the wellbeing of the nation.
The Rt Hon Richard Caborn, Chair of Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, and the driving force behind the vision for the Park, added: “This visit highlights the incredible journey we’ve undertaken over the past eight years. Our partnership with the BOA is not just about sports; it’s about transforming lives, fostering innovation, promoting health and wellbeing, and delivering on the legacy we promised when we staged the 2012 Olympics.”
This visit emphasises the ongoing commitment of Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park and the BOA to deliver a tangible legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, including economic regeneration, new opportunities for the local community, increasing sports participation, and environmental improvements all of which are focused on improving health and wellbeing.
As the Park enters the next phase, led by development partner Scarborough Group International, the future research and innovation assets, including the National Centre for Child Health Technology and a 100,000 sq ft Innovation Centre, will all contribute towards Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park becoming the leading life sciences park in the North of England.
Pictured (L-R) Jon Eley – British Ice Skating, Dr Chris Low – Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, Yuri Matischen – Sheffield Sharks, Rt Hon Richard Caborn – Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, Andy Anson, British Olympic Association